After the ongoing debate on net neutrality which gained momentum after the launch of Airtel Zero, the government has finally decided to intervene. According to Times of India report, the department of telecom (DoT) has taken cognizance of reports on Airtel Zero and is keeping a ‘close watch on developments around the issue . Also Read - Airtel introduces new postpaid plans with more data, refreshes Family postpaid plans tooAlso Read - Airtel partners with Intel for its 5G network development: Details here
Citing anonymous sources, the publication claims that DoT will study Airtel Zero and its features in detail. “DoT is looking into finer details and whether it goes against the spirit of net neutrality,” a top official source told the publication. This study will be separate from the TRAI study on whether it should let telecom operators charge on OTT services or not. Also Read - How to get free Amazon Prime subscription
Even though the government has no plans to take any immediate action, this is a significant step towards acknowledging the gravity of the issue. The government has asked DoT to come up with a concrete plan to regulate OTT services.
TRAI meanwhile has asked citizens for feedback regarding the change in regulation, which will allow telecom operators to charge for OTT apps and services. The deadline for this feedback is April 24, and any DoT recommendation will only be reviewed after TRAI’s final call comes in.
Airtel Zero is a new platform that will let users access selected apps and services without incurring any data charges. The company will charge app developers or service providers the data usage charges for allowing consumers to download and use those apps for free.
As lucrative Airtel Zero sounds, it goes against the principles of net neutrality. The idea that some services will be free, while some who cannot afford to pay Airtel a fee will be at a disadvantage (especially small companies and startups) does not bring healthy competitiveness to play. With this platform, the company is unfairly favoring apps or services that can pay to be on Airtel s platform.
Tech leaders, Internet celebrities and even influential actors are supporting net neutrality. TRAI is welcoming suggestions till April 24, and you too can put in your voice to use by supporting net neutrality. Head over to savetheinternet.in and share the link with the hashtag #SaveTheInternet on social platforms.